What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself. It is doing exactly what you need to do to feel the best all around. This includes mentally, physically, and emotionally. Each person has their own way to give themselves self-care. This can be anything from quitting your exhausting job, to getting your hair done, or ensuring you have time to read each evening before bed.
Taking care of yourself should not be overlooked. There are many benefits that result from a self-care routine. If you are not taking care of yourself eventually it can lead to overwhelming stress, lack of confidence, less productivity at work and even cause deteriorating relationships with family and friends.
To really understand self-care, you need to understand yourself first. Ask yourself these questions to gain some clarity.
- What are the things I need to do to feel complete?
- What activities help me relieve stress?
- Is there anything I can eliminate from my daily schedule that is preventing me from taking care of myself?
- Am I happy with my exercise routine and am I eating healthy?
The way you answer these questions determines your self-care needs. Once you have defined your needs all you need to do now is to add it to your schedule and do them to reap the benefits.
Self-care is extremely beneficial for optimal health. Let’s look at a few of the amazing benefits you’ll experience over time.
- Increased Positivity – Adding these activities to your schedule will give you something to look forward to. Now you will no longer be thinking about how bad your day is and only be looking forward to reading that book in total silence or getting your nails done after work.
- Increased Self-Confidence – Your needs are now a top priority and that is a good thing. Self-confidence will naturally increase because you are simply doing the things that make you feel good.
- Improved Immunity – Self-care allows you to give your body a break from stress, anxiety and emotional trauma which increases your immunity. Stress and depression can overload your mind and body which is crucial to reduce as much as possible.
- Better Relationships – The more your needs are met the better your relationships will be with other people. When you are feeling down about yourself and don’t feel important chances are that’s what you are putting onto others.
- Higher Productivity – All the benefits that have been stated above help with increased productivity at work and at home. Less stress, higher immunity, and higher self-confidence all help to boost productivity.
Remember, self-care is all about you as an individual. So, what you need to do to take care of yourself won’t be the same as your spouse, friends, and family. After this routine is put in place you will notice a significant change in your health and overall well-being.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is simply doing the things you like to do that helps you feel happy and healthy. There really is no limit to what self-care is because it’s all about what you like doing for yourself and your personality that makes you a better person, parent, spouse, sibling, and friend.
Don’t do things you think you need to do or what others say you need to do. Do what you know you love and want. It doesn’t have to require money or be anything extravagant. Meditate, get up early, read a book, or go for a jog are some simple ideas.
Neglecting yourself and putting your needs on the back burner inevitably leads to an unhealthy life. Self-care needs to be a part of everyone’s personal schedule and shouldn’t be overlooked due to time or because someone believes it is selfish. Self-care is essential to having a healthy, productive, and happy life.
Self-care is imperative because it prevents:
- Stress — Most everyone lives with stress in their daily lives but it’s important to try to reduce this as much as possible. Plenty of medical research shows that stress can cause many negative side effects. This includes headaches, low energy, aches and pain and even insomnia.
- Burnout – Burnout is another form of extreme stress that results in physical and emotional exhaustion, negativity, lack of enjoyment and the feeling of hopelessness. Burnout typically happens when people are overworked or during events that you feel you can’t control. Self-care allows you to take a break from these activities that can result in burnout. Even if it’s a simple one-minute break where you just close your eyes and breathe, it will help reduce this type of stress.
- Negativity — Putting everyone else’s needs over your own will turn just about anyone negative. The feeling of not being important and that their needs overpower yours is a horrible feeling. The fact is, the more your needs are met the more others needs will be met too. You will experience less bitterness and resentment towards others if you take care of yourself.
If you find yourself at any point feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just negative towards people stop what you are doing immediately. You can easily take a few minutes to refocus your mind. Maybe you need to talk to your friends and family for a few minutes or look at a few pictures that make you happy such as babies or cats. This will allow you to relax and adjust your attitude. You will be amazed at how much more productive you will be if you just put yourself first.
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Simple Self-Care Tips And Ideas
Self-care is a very broad term and can honestly mean anything. Self-care can be described by each person differently. To one person it can be about doing anything that is fun and exciting but to the next person it is about being quiet and fully relaxed in the moment and even then, someone else might think it’s a combination of both. Self-care is an individualized plan of activities that will allow you to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy.
If you haven’t been practicing self-care for a while or at all, it can be overwhelming at first to break it down and know where to start.
- Self-Care First – Just like health studies have shown exercising first thing in the morning gives the best results the same goes for self-care. Take care of yourself first to start your day off positively. When you get things out of the way you’ll feel accomplished and awesome.
- Schedule Self-Care – Today people are more productive than ever. But, they are also distracted. The best course of action is to schedule in the things you want to do for self-care. Schedule that haircut or massage. Schedule a short phone call with friends or family during your break at work. Schedule lunch with friends. If you write it down you’re more likely to do it.
- Be Attentive – Be aware of your surroundings as well as yourself. Your environment and knowing what you like and dislike plays a major part in self-care. If you are adding things to your routine that you don’t like and don’t make you happy, look for a way to remove it or make it better.
- Reward Yourself – Self-care shouldn’t only be about rewarding yourself but it is a great way to get started. It could help you to get some much-needed work done and help you get the care you need. Maybe you know you need to exercise but it’s not something that you really enjoy doing. Start rewarding yourself for doing it so that you get an immediate benefit for anything that will only provide long-term results. For example, did you do your exercise every day for a month? Schedule a facial or massage to reward yourself.
- Try Meditation – Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and help you relax. The goal is to focus on breathing and nothing else. Studies show that meditation and prayer help cut down on stress and improve memory.
- Take Alone Time – Self-care doesn’t have to be about going and spending a bunch of money or doing exciting activities. Sometimes people just need alone time. Take time away from children and coworkers so that you can rejuvenate and focus on your own thoughts.
- Spend Time with Friends and Family – Schedule some time with friends and family. Go out to dinner or play board games at their house. Do something different than you usually would do with them also. Make it a date so you have something to look forward to.
- Buy Something – Go buy a new outfit, a pair of hiking boots or a coffee at Starbucks. Add it to your budget so you don’t go overboard. It’s okay to splurge every now and then if it makes you feel good and isn’t completely unhealthy.
Self-care can be simple. All you need to do is figure out what is best for you and do it. One thing that might help you decide what to do is to write down the goals that you have for yourself so that you can ensure that the things you do lead you towards meeting those goals.
How A Little Self-Care Can Improve Your Attitude
A little self-care can go a long way toward improving your attitude. Adjusting your attitude can easily make a bad day turn into a great day. As the popular saying goes “attitudes are contagious”. It’s best to do everything you need to do to be positive in life. That way when you are around your friends, family, and coworkers you are not making their day as bad as yours.
There are things that you can add to your daily life to improve your attitude, let’s look at a few.
- Get Enough Sleep – Set your alarm to go off about an hour before you need to get into bed. Turn off all electronics, turn down the lights. Fix your central air to make the room cooler about 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid eating too late. If it helps you to calm down get in the bed with a good book. Getting a full night sleep is vital to waking up in a good mood. You will feel energetic and much more willing to start out your day without resentment.
- Eat Healthy and Exercise – Getting adequate exercise is known to release endorphins to the brain. Endorphins are hormones that are responsible for making you feel happy. Pair exercise with a healthy meal to get the best results possible. Not only will your attitude improve but your self-confidence will too.
- Stay Hydrated – Dehydration is responsible for headaches, dry skin, fatigue, and dizziness. These symptoms can cause you act in a negative manner if you feel overwhelmed. The standard rule of thumb is to drink either half your body weight in ounces in water, or try to drink 8 glasses or 64 ounces of water a day. Remembering eating raw veggies and fruit is also hydrating.
- Take Your Breaks — Don’t pass on those ten-minute work breaks. Chances are you won’t get paid for them anyway and you really are doing yourself a disservice. Use this time to relax and focus on something else that makes you laugh or just sit down and breathe. If you work for yourself, schedule in 10 to 15-minute breaks at least every four hours.
- Ask for Help – Asking for help can be challenging for some people but you should never be afraid to ask. Ask your friends and family to help you out every now and then to relieve some pressure off everyday tasks. More than likely they will be happy to help. If you are finding it hard to take care of yourself don’t be afraid to ask a professional either. Mental health is the most important.
- Learn to Say No – If you are overwhelmed, too busy, or just don’t want to do something saying no is perfectly fine. You have permission. Taking on too much work or doing things you don’t want to do leads to poor quality work and some unhappy people. Don’t do that to yourself. If you keep everything scheduled you can easily look at your calendar and say “No, that date doesn’t work for me”.
- Decompress – Take time out each day and relax. Get away from people or go get a massage, some coffee, or a cup of tea. Your time to decompress is important to a good attitude.
Feel free to adjust these ideas to your own individual needs and remember to make it simple. Some people find great comfort in knowing that they can take care of themselves, get away, and practice self-care without guilt because it’s something they have a right to do.
Create A Self-Care Survival Kit
A self-care survival kit is a personalized box of fun things to use to pamper yourself. When you are feeling sad, stressed, or just feel like it, pull this box out and enjoy. The survival kit will help you loosen up and just relax and feel a sense of self-pride. Making a kit can be just as rewarding as using one. This can be a fun activity to do with friends and family or even just by yourself to unwind.
The first task that needs to be done when creating this kit is finding a box or basket to put things in. Buy colorful markers, glitter, and ribbons to decorate the outside if you want to. This can be super creative or just simple. Decorate until you are happy with the way it looks.
Now it’s time to figure out what items to put in the survival kit. Essentially you want to fill it with anything that makes you feel good, brings a smile to your face, or relaxes you.
A good way to help you get started is by using all five senses as you fill your kit. Let’s look at a few ideas.
- Sight – Photos of loved ones, a favorite book or magazine, a list of affirmations, postcards from friends and family, or adult coloring books.
- Smell — Scented soy candles, incense, or essential oils.
- Hearing – Favorite music CD, an audio book, or a list of your favorite videos on YouTube.
- Touch — Anything that you can feel and want to touch. Avoid textures that make you uncomfortable. Face masks, foot scrubs, calming lotions, stress ball or extra paper or a journal to write poems or thoughts. Silly putty and kinetic sand are other great stress relieving toys.
- Taste — Try to avoid high calorie or extremely unhealthy foods. Gum, flavored lip balm, mints and tea bags are all good options.
Add as many items in each category as you like. If there are certain categories you don’t care for feel free to avoid it. Maybe you want complete quiet when doing these activities so you might add in some ear plugs instead of music. You want to feel excited when you open this box so make it worth it.
Keep this box somewhere you can see it every day and easily get to. Don’t hide it away. This box is a way to remind yourself that you need time for you. The more you see it the more you will remember that you are just as important as everything else going on in your day. Eventually, it will become a good healthy routine.
Putting Self-Care On The Calendar
More times than not everyone has the excuse of not having enough time to do something, especially when it comes to self-care. Everyday life is full of activities including eight or more hours of work, child care, school, church, community activities and more. Plus, you still need to balance your relationships too.
It may seem impossible to take care of yourself while taking care of a full family and keeping up with the house, or while running a business, or working a job, but there is a way to solve this through scheduling and calendaring. Start adding self-care to your calendar and if you are not someone who usually uses a planner or calendar start now. Your health and happiness depend on it. Plus, you’ll seriously be shocked at how much more freedom you have when you do schedule everything.
Every day, or at the beginning of each week, sit down and find areas that you can fill in your calendar with some self-care activities. If you can put those things in your calendar first after right after your required work schedule, you’ll become even more successful at meeting your self-care goals.
Try to schedule these as early in the day as possible. Schedule everything even if it feels silly. This can include phone calls with your family and friends, a bath, or even a short nap. Once you have it scheduled stick to it and make it just as important as the rest of your tasks.
You would never overlook something on your calendar if it pertained to work or your family so why do that to yourself?
You are just as important as anything else in your life. Your overall health affects everything that happens in your daily life. Neglecting self-care can cause horrible moods, depression, and even affect your work in a negative way. In other words, self-care is just as important as work and your family.
Adding these activities to your calendar avoids the repeated and all too familiar excuse of not having enough time or saying, “I’ll just do it later.” There is no pushing something under the rug when it’s on your calendar and the time is blocked out. You already took the time out to make time so there really is no excuse. Your work or family doesn’t need more of your time you need it.
Make sure you schedule in enough time for each activity so you can fully enjoy it. Don’t rush these activities or you will quickly turn something that is supposed to release stress, stressful. If you only have a certain amount of time choose your self-care interests wisely. If you only have ten minutes to spare only do something that takes ten minutes and stick to it.
It may seem hard or a little silly at first to do this but over time it will become second nature. You will experience so many benefits that skipping over your self-care will seem insane and unnatural. Self-care is just as, if not more, important than your work and family because it determines exactly how each day will develop including 50 years from now.
Self-Care Isn’t Actually Selfish
You might have noticed that self-care is considered a negative or selfish thing by much of society. You might even feel a little resistance while trying to take care of yourself more. Our society was raised on working hard and helping others before you can help yourself. Self-care is more of a reward for working hard than something that is vital to your health. That simply is not true, self-care isn’t actually selfish. Self-care benefits you and everyone else around you.
Your Oxygen First
You might have heard this before but it’s a great example and needs to be repeated. When you get on a plane one of the first things they tell you to do is to put your oxygen mask on before you assist others in the event of an incident. Not because it’s selfish but because it’s logical. If you are having a hard time breathing you won’t be able to help others around you. So, ultimately both you and the person needing your help are out of luck all because you put them before yourself.
Translated to Your Life
This same story can be interpreted in your everyday life. If you are burned-out or unhappy you won’t benefit the people around you. You will do sub par work and maybe even say things you didn’t mean to say if you don’t take care of yourself. By simply putting yourself first you can easily change your productivity and relationships with work, friends, and family. Everyone benefits in the end if they can get to their oxygen masks easily.
You’ll Know You Better
A good self-care routine also allows you to truly discover yourself. Knowing what you enjoy that makes you happy or understating your passion and purpose in life benefits the people around you too. These people get to experience the best you that there is. The relaxed and highly self-confident and powerful person you are. Less negativity and resentment towards others allows for stronger and more meaningful relationships to flourish.
There may be a few people in your life that will see self-care as selfish but don’t let it stop you. Instead, educate them or take them out of your life if that’s possible. Maybe they are just as overwhelmed as you are don’t understand the importance of self-care. More than likely they will agree with you and even add it to their schedule. If they don’t understand it there is no point in stressing about what they say. Don’t let them stop you from taking care of yourself. Your health, happiness, and life matter too.
Quick Ideas For Simple Daily Self Care Exercises
Self-care activities can easily be added into your daily routine without changing much or adding a lot of time to your day. It’s not hard if you try to make it simple. Let’s look at a few exercises that you can do to add self-care to your daily life.
- Wake up Earlier – Wake up thirty minutes earlier than normal. Make a cup of coffee and go outside and breathe in some fresh air if you want to. Alternatively, you can choose to go for a walk, read the newspaper, or a book. It’s up to you but don’t do anything that makes you stressed out. This is quiet time just for you.
- Wait Times – At some point in life we all end up having to wait around for something. Waiting can be very stressful if you don’t have a plan. Maybe you are at the doctor’s office in the waiting area or waiting in line to pick up your kids from school. Take advantage of this time by bringing a book with you. If you prefer you can also play a game of sudoku.
- Breaks and Naps – Don’t pass up those breaks at work. Get outside and walk for ten minutes. If you are at home and put your kids down for a nap take advantage of that time and catch up on a television series. When you’re given a break, take it.
- Use Your Self-Care Survival Kit – During the hour before you go to bed, dive into your self-care survival kit. You may want to color to bring your blood pressure down so that you sleep better. Choose calming activities close to bedtime.
- Change Up Your Routine — Sing while you clean the kitchen, dance while you pick up the living room, or see how fast you can fold laundry. Take a different route to work and blast some music or listen to an audio book on the way there. It’s amazing one what little change can do for your mood.
- Cook Something New — Pick a day out of the week to cook something new and exciting. Make life easy by making each day of the week something different like meatless Mondays or taco Tuesdays. Try different recipes for twists on these dishes.
- Smell Your Food More – When you sit down to eat take the time to really enjoy your food. Smell it more and really taste your food. Slow down and chew your food carefully and fully. Be mindful about the food you eat when you eat. There is no reason to rush and eat your food too fast. (If you are rushed add this to your calendar so you set aside enough time.)
- Use Your Time Wisely – Turn on the music or burn some incense while you get ready for work so that you can think positive while you are getting ready. This is especially important if you have a stressful job.
- Pamper Yourself – Buy high-quality shampoo, conditioners, and body soap for your showers. Upgrade your body and face lotions. Buy hands soaps that leave your hands nice and soft. Stick to healthy organic ingredients for an added boost to your daily pampering.
- Fidget Toys – Keeping fidget toys like a fidget spinner or fidget cube around the house and at work can be a real stress reliever when you can’t do anything else. A stress ball and hand grip are other good ideas as well. This way anytime you feel stressed you can pick one up and play with it without interrupting what you are doing.
Self-care doesn’t need to be anything major or take hours, a simple change in routine can be exactly what you need. These ideas should help you include self-care activities in your daily life without having to do everything differently.
Self-Care Doesn’t Have To Cost Anything
Money may be tight and you might not be able to find flex in your budget to add a lot of new things to your life. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect yourself. Believe it or not, self-care doesn’t have to cost anything. There are plenty of things you can do without spending a dime or by taking advantage of the things you have already purchased.
- Take a Nap – Who doesn’t enjoy a good nap? Napping doesn’t cost you anything but time but a 30-minute power nap can do wonders for your mood and your life. Most people always have a few minutes to spare for a power nap if they realize how important it may be to their health.
- Get Some Exercise – Go for a jog or a nice walk and enjoy mother nature. You can even go window shopping to change it up a bit. You don’t need to buy anything to enjoy it. Besides, how much stuff do you already have in your life that you barely use? The exercise is what’s important.
- Go Outside – Sit outside on your porch or balcony and read a book or meditate. Breathe in the fresh air or enjoy the sound of rain. Nature is essential to your health. Take off your shoes and walk barefoot in the grass whenever you can.
- Hot Towel – Put a wet wash cloth in the microwave for a few seconds and use it after you wash your face. Lay down on the couch and feel the warmth and relax for a few minutes until the cloth is cool.
- Take a Spa Day – Look around your cabinets and you’ll likely find plenty of ingredients to make into a face mask. Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, honey, banana, oatmeal, and cucumbers are all great items to use. If you can’t spare too many items just add some olive oil to brown sugar and use that as a face and lip scrub.
- Take Another Shower – Before you get into the shower put your pajamas in the dryer. In the shower, take the time to breathe in the smell of your body wash and use this shower to just relax. Then once you are done you can slip into your warm and cozy pajamas.
- Talk to Someone – Self-care doesn’t have to be lonely. Call some friends or talk to your spouse about work and life. Maybe they need some ideas for their own self-care routine too. Share tips and tricks.
- Journal – If you don’t have a journal you can use your computer or laptop instead. You can also print out paper journals from templates online. Write about your day or how you have been feeling. Take out this time to find out more things you would like to do to for yourself. If you find yourself feeling negative, try keeping a gratitude journal.
- Watch Netflix – Catch up on a TV series you’ve been dying to watch or put on a good scary movie. Nothing wrong with a good binge when you need a break or “hooky” day.
- Dance – Turn on that radio and get moving. Dancing is exciting and is also great exercise. You’ll get the benefits of exercise endorphins as well as bring back happy memories and boost your energy.
- Play a Game – Pull out that old board game of monopoly and play with your family. Invite some friends over to play Pictionary or download a free game on your phone like Heads Up. Nothing is more fun than laughing with friends.
- Have Sex – That’s right, sex is a great way to reduce stress and feel better about yourself. Orgasm makes you relaxed and is very healthy for you.
The list is truly endless and all up to you. Get creative and use your environment and things around you. What types of things can you add to this list that will add self-care, fun, and energy to your life?
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